Tobacco farmers have threatened to withdraw from tobacco farming after alleging they are being subjected to unfair treatment by some of the tobacco buying companies.
A visit to one of the tobacco buying firms, Agritrade Leaf Tobacco, paints a sorrowful sight for some of the men and women generating Zimbabwe’s golden leaf.
The farmers some from as far off as Hurungwe, Karoi and Mt Darwin have been stuck in Harare for some time now after selling their tobacco crop and not getting paid with hunger and misery glaring them in the face.
One farmer who received three hessian bags from the company alleges she had $800 deducted after sales leaving her with virtually nothing.
A litany of other malpractices such as unauthorised insurance deductions has also been cited by the farmers who equally accuse the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) of turning a blind eye on the issue.
Contacted for comment, TIMB spokesman Mr Isheunesu Moyo acknowledged receiving complaints from the farmers and revealed they have since stopped operations of Agritrade Leaf Tobacco in Rusape while investigations are being carried out pertaining to the complaints raised in Harare.
Efforts to get a comment from the company officials were thwarted by an overzealous security guard who ordered the ZBC News team off the premises without any reasoning sparking the anger of the already frustrated farmers.